Planning to visit The Hague? I lived in the Hague prior to being diagnosed coeliac. When I first returned post diagnosis I was dismayed by how difficult it seemed, relative to London, to eat out gluten free. After many further trips I now eagerly look forward to returning thanks to having discovered plenty of wonderful places to eat out, buy food to eat in and stay. Hence this Hague Gluten Free City Guide.
I really hope this helps some other gluten free travellers. Perhaps even some residents! It will be kept up to date as I revisit and if you spot anything you think should be added or corrected I will be very happy to do so. Please tell me via the comments.
There are 5 sections to this Hague gluten free guide
- General tips and tricks introduction which is relevant for any visit to The Netherlands
- Hague Gluten Free Map on which all the locations I highlight are captured
- Cafes & Restaurants, most of which I have personally visited and a few extras I am certain are safe for coeliacs
- Shops at which you can buy gluten free food
- Hotels which I can confirm have gluten free breakfast, lunch and dinner catering
The Hague Gluten Free: Tips & Tricks
The Dutch Coeliac Society is called Nederlandse Coeliakie Vereniging (NCV). The NCV has an English language page for visitors to The Netherlands. This page names several shops stocking gluten free food, provides a link to databases for hotels, restaurants and products and provides a Restaurant card in both Dutch and English.
The international crossed grain symbol identifies gluten free products confirmed safe for coeliacs by the Dutch Coeliac Society.
The Dutch Coeliac Society also has a list of “Lekker Glutenvrij” restaurants which means “Great Gluten Free”. The list is short and does not have any venues listed for The Hague, excluding McDonalds.
Your two key Dutch words are “Glutenvrij” and “Coeliakie”. Enemies include tarwemeal (wheat flour), gerst (barley) and roggemeal (rye flour). Note that havermout (oatmeal) will usually be of the potentially cross-contaminated variety unless specifically marked otherwise.
I have found Google Translate to be a wizard at translating food labels and revealing products that contain one of these ingredients or a warning that the product may contain traces of gluten. Download the Dutch language pack for Google translate for your iOS or Android then point your camera at a food ingredients label and get a translation. I recommend using this whilst shopping to eliminate unsuitable foods.
The Hague Gluten Free Map
This map provides an alternative way to explore the gluten free places I highlight. Links within each map marker take you to my dedicated review of the place if I have written one. If you view the Google Maps photos and reviews of a place I have been to you will always find a review from me with photos describing the gluten free features.
Green icons are place to eat out, purple are places to shop and yellow places to stay.
The Hague Gluten Free: Eating Out
In contrast to London and the UK fewer Dutch cafes and restaurants make explicit whether they can cater gluten free. It is rare to find online menus in English that identify gluten free dishes. This appears to reflect that the gluten free diet is not as popular in The Netherlands as it is in the UK and US. I believe this is changing.
I love eating out and am happy to invest time and effort exploring for places I can be safe and really enjoy great food. I used all the techniques I have described in my Coeliac’s Guide to finding the Best Gluten Free restaurants to find the following.
Bagels & Beans
There are three Bagels & Beans outlets in The Hague and many throughout the Netherlands. All outlets have a wide range of gluten free bagel, salad and both dairy and dairy free yoghurt dishes. Gluten free bagels are kept and warmed up within sealed pouches and cross contamination control is excellent. For a chain, there are some remarkably interesting options such as a ‘Bugs’ bagel with mealworms, cricket and grasshopper and aniseed milk. Has the most delicious gluten free and vegan Pecan Pie, almost, but not quite, the equal of that from Zebedeus!
Brasserie ‘t Zusje is a chain of Tapas restaurants with branches throughout the Netherlands. Each offers an all you can eat deal which at the time of writing is under 30 EUR per person. The Brasseries offer to cater gluten free, lactose free and nut free and have a dedicated vegetarian menu available. The cuisine is vaguely spanish but with lots of international dishes.
Chop Chop Fresh Salad
Avoid the croutons and wraps and choose the right dressings with help from the friendly staff and the readily available allergy info sheets and this is THE place to get a tasty, wholesome, safely gluten free meal at the station for eat in, take out or Deliveroo. Lots of choices, generous portions, quick and simple.
Little V Restaurant
Generous portions of flavoursome Vietnamese food with vegetarian and vegan options. On site there are dedicated gluten free menus, gluten aware servers and gluten free Oyster sauce for the dishes. No gluten free desserts but an amazing range of smoothies, juices, teas, mocktails and cocktails.
Umami by Han
Fine dining experience to treasure at reasonable cost. Eating from a Social Dining menu means enjoying between 7-9 small plates. Seafood is plentiful but there are vegetarian options too. Presentation of the food on both the plate and from the servers is a highlight. Gluten free dishes are not indicated within online or on site menus but staff are very capable at highlighting these. On my visit this was done in advance so there was a gluten free menu ready for me on arrival.
Great for visiting if you are near or ordering via Deliveroo if not. Very healthy, wholesome, generously portioned food. There are meat dishes but also a good number of gluten free and vegan options and there is always a gluten free cake or bake for dessert. If ordering via Deliveroo dietary needs indicated are clearly passed on. There is an English language menu with the GF dishes marked available online.
Varied international cuisines, gluten free options marked up on the main menu and a venue that is very confident at managing cross contamination and delivering safe food. Wonderfully stylish and comfortable interior and an external terrace great for people watching. Note that whilst the online menu does mark up GF dishes there are more to choose from on site.
A stylish and upscale restaurant that has earned a loyal following of regular diners. The on site printed menu identifies gluten free dishes and there are several more than can be modified to be gluten free. Intimate lighting, capable friendly staff and high quality menu and dishes make this a great destination restaurant for solos, couples and groups.
Great for gluten and dairy free. The main show is of course yoghurt pots and there are soy, coconut and almond yoghurts available. Many of the toppings that go with the yoghurts are gluten free and there appear to be proper practices in place to manage the risk of cross contamination from those that are not. There are also gorgeous looking treats stocked from gluten free bakery Sharp Sharp.
Probably my favourite restaurant of all. The location is incredible, with the restaurant being inside a Great Church and also having tree shaded outdoor seating within a cobbled area. The menu has gluten free dishes marked and there are others than can be modified to become gluten free. I have on several visits gone off menu and ordered a combination of foods that appealed most and this was kindly accommodated with a smile. Worth visiting just to sample the single best Pecan Pie, in fact the best gluten free pie period, I have ever experienced. Please do not ever take the last piece!
The Hague Gluten Free: Eating Out Continued
The following are places I have not yet personally visited but they each have a strong and sustained reputation for gluten free food.
A teeny tiny little cafe but 100% Gluten Free and very vegan friendly. Soups, salads, pastas, veggie dishes and woohoo, gluten free pancakes! Unfortunately the menu is only in Dutch and in a format that Google cannot translate. I have sent feedback 🙂
Fine Fresh Food
As of October 2017 this eatery has recently reopened having previously operated closer to the Hague centre. The Dutch only menu online clearly highlights a complete range of gluten free dishes. There are mains, sandwiches, soups, dips and cakes. Fine Fresh Food is at the very top of my list to explore on my next trip.
The Welsh Bakestone
This is a long established 100% gluten free bakery and cafe run by a Coeliac. In addition to eating in you can buy bread and bakes for take-out. There is also a custom order service and by arrangement an afternoon tea service. I regret I have never been to this place as it is closed Sunday-Tuesday and only open during working hours Wednesday through Friday. I’d love to compare it to the likes of Beyond Bread and Artisan Gluten Free Bakery in London.
The Hague Gluten Free: Eating In
For each of the below, click on the header link to jump to Google Maps to see my longer reviews and lots of pictures of the gluten free food in each store.
Easily the very best place to shop for a coeliac, vegetarian or vegan. The product range is similar to a Wholefoods or Planet Organic with lots of gluten free, vegan and organic foods. There is also gluten free take out food available and this is typically a wonderful rainbow in a bowl. If asked for in advance freshly baked gluten free bread is available too. They accept credit cards and the staff are friendly, food passionate people. Shop here and feel good 🙂
Very similar to Wholefoods. Dedicated ranges of gluten free and dairy free foods in both the food cupboard and frozen sections. There is an interesting range of specialist gluten free foods including frozen croissants from a a Lisa’s Choice brand I have never seen elsewhere.
There is a large dedicated free from (mainly gluten free) section with lots of products from a Lieke is Vrij brand not found outside of Ekoplaza, including treats like Belgian style waffles and croissants. Well, things that look croissants. Right next to the free from breads, bakes, biscuits and cereals area there is also a free from freezer section and this contains some very uncommon gluten free desserts including a fairly Dutch style Apple Cake.
Be warned though, this place does not accept credit cards or non-Dutch debit cards. Cash only for foreign visitors therefore. There are multiple Ekoplaza stores in The Hague, all marked on the main Google map.
Pretty much the only supermarket chain in The Hague area and unfortunately do not accept credit cards or non-Dutch debit cards.
All Albert Heijn stores have a dedicated gluten free section stocking their own brand plus Schar and Consenza products. The XL store marked on the map has the broadest range of both frozen and food cupboard free from foods. Highlights include several types of gluten free pizza, Dutch bitterballen and fish fingers. Albert Heijn has recently launched an own brand fresh baked gluten free loaf similar to Sainsbury in the UK. I’ll give them points for also having their own brand version of gluten free Oreos 🙂
This is the UK “health food store” and the product range is very similar to that in the UK. There is an extensive range of Consenza and Schar brand free from products. Interesting treats include Schar Gluten Free Marble Cake and Consenza Cheese Balls. I would prefer to shop from real food from Madal Bal, Marqt or Ekoplaza however. Just like the UK stores the range is essential limited to gluten free junk food, candies and snake oils sitting alongside a smaller range of dried fruits, seeds and nuts.
There are multiple Holland and Barrett stores in The Hague, all marked on the main Google map.
The Hague Gluten Free: Places to Stay
There are surely more places than these alone but these are the places I have personally stayed and can recommend. Know of any more? Tell me via comments and I will add it.
Despite no advance notice the Head Chef confirmed both skill and will to prepare Gluten Free and vegetarian meals for me and I was delighted throughout a two week visit to receive wonderful meals (click on the link above to see pictures). Staff were very friendly & helpful, including serving me decaf coffee on request.
Great central location for eating and shopping and includes a fitness room with a wonderful skyline view of The Hague. Has dedicated gluten free foods for breakfast. The lunch and evening meal menu is actually food ordered in from an outside restaurant and much of it is or can be modified to be gluten free. However if you do stay here, go to any of the more interesting places nearby for breakfast, like Yoghurt Barn or Bagels & Beans 🙂